Specter Party Switch Hurts Democrats and Republicans Alike

Pennsylvania senator's defection reinforces faults in both parties.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Sen. Arlen Specter's defection may sound like great news for Democrats and Team Audacity.

But in the long run, it could be bad for the Obama administration, and bad for the country.

The big thing the Democrats suffer from now is arrogance. The big thing that Republicans suffer from is ideological rigidity.

Specter's defection reinforces both trends.

The task of pulling the country back from destructive polarization is now a little tougher. And Barack Obama, the guy who got elected saying he would lead that charge, has been mostly AWOL.

As a liberal, maybe I should be happy. But as a civil libertarian and a student of history—with many years experience watching the jokers in Washington—I revere the checks and balances that those 18th-century geniuses built into our political system.

Another Northeast Republican is gone.

The Democrats are a little bit more unchecked this evening, and the Republicans more unbalanced.

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  • Read more by John Aloysius Farrell.
  • Read more from the Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
  • Read more about Arlen Specter.